New Head of Scripps Research Institute

New Head of Scripps Research Institute

Author: ChemViews

Professor Michael Marletta, chair of chemistry at UC Berkeley, USA, will replace Richard Lerner, who has led The Scripps Research Institute for 25 years. Marletta, 60, was named president-elect on Sunday by the board of trustees. He will join the faculty in July and take command next January.

Marletta’s decades-long exploration of molecules led to an improved way of treating septic shock, a condition that can lead to fatal episodes of low blood pressure. He’s worked at some of the USA’s top research institutions, including UC San Francisco, MIT, Michigan and Berkeley. In 1995, he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant, which is popularly known as a ‘genius’ grant because it goes to people who exhibit extraordinary creativity and promise.

Lerner, 72, is an internationally-known chemist whose basic research on antibodies led to the development of adalimumab, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Other aspects of his work are being used to help treat people with cancer and hepatitis C. Among others, he is member of the International Advisory Board of Angewandte Chemie.

The Scripps Research, a private, non-profit institute, is one of the largest centers for biomedical research in the world. Opened in the 1920s as Scripps Clinic, a small outpost in little-known La Jolla where scientists studied diabetes, the clinic evolved over the years, pushed ahead by a series of eminent scientists. Frank Dixon, a renowned immunologist, played a key role in focusing the clinic’s attention on biomedical research.

The clinic, renamed The Scripps Research Institute in 1991, gets most of its money from the National Institutes of Health, which faces on-going pressure to sharply cut its budget.

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